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  #61  
Old Posted Jun 21, 2005, 7:58 PM
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cont. from page 1

After Charlotte-based Wachovia Corp. bought SouthTrust Corp. in a $14 billion deal last year, the future of the building was in limbo. Enter Barry, which closed on the deal on June 30, 2004. Wachovia ended up retaining five of its original 11 floors in the tower, plus the lobby. Fish says that's a considerable vote of confidence and he hopes the banking giant will expand its presence even further.

Barry already has upgraded the building's air conditioning and safety systems, and will next tackle the lobby and common areas, including 11 sets of restrooms and three multi-tenant corridors. Fish emphasizes that the lobby will not be completely changed. "We're taking the good elements and improving on them, warming the space up," he says.

The 19,000-square-foot lobby has green granite panels, which will be incorporated into the new design. The drop ceilings will be replaced with drywall and plaster. In addition, space will be carved out for two or more retail tenants, preferably restaurants, Fish says. The restaurants will front Fifth Avenue North and boast outdoor seating.

Phase 1 lobby, bathroom and common area renovations will be completed in three to four months and represents $2.5 million to $3 million of the total renovation cost, Rudy says.

The issue of parking
One question hovering over the tower, and the downtown office market in general, is parking. The building currently has a 224-space deck and an agreement with the city of Birmingham to acquire space in various city decks as it becomes available, Rudy says.

Several months ago, it was announced that the nearby Regions deck on Fourth Avenue North would nearly double its current 769 spaces as part of a mixed-use city project to be completed in 2006. The parking authority has said the expansion is on hold, and city spokeswoman Renee Kemp-Rotan says although she doesn't have a time frame, "we still intend to go forward with that project and we're working on the details now."

Such a project would enhance the tower's appeal "since that deck is right in our back yard," Rudy says. "We would be thrilled to get it. It would be huge for us."

Fish says the building's owners are firmly committed to bringing the building to the top of its market and filling it. To that end, Barry has hired property manager Jeannie Knowles, who will work with tenants and oversee the day-to-day operations of the building.

kwilkinson@bizjournals.com - (205) 443-5637
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  #62  
Old Posted Jun 21, 2005, 9:10 PM
D1136 D1136 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blazer85
-1948 Ridership reached an all time peak at 93 million passengers


93 million!! Good heavens!

No wonder Birmingham was said to have had the 2nd most extensive streetcar system in the nation.
I wonder why the city got the bright idea to rip it all out...the infrastructure was there and no one, not a single person in charge, had the foresight to consider congestion and urban flight issues...

Just makes me wonder when and what the next big blunder for Birmingham will be...let's see, rails to natta, loss of the "big" airport to Atlanta, what is the blunder of this quarter century?

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  #63  
Old Posted Jun 21, 2005, 9:11 PM
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I thought this thread was "for things not exactly related to development." Some of these topics should be in the "Birmingham Development News" thread (which I just bumped to the top).
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  #64  
Old Posted Jun 21, 2005, 9:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by D1136
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blazer85
-1948 Ridership reached an all time peak at 93 million passengers


93 million!! Good heavens!

No wonder Birmingham was said to have had the 2nd most extensive streetcar system in the nation.
I wonder why the city got the bright idea to rip it all out...the infrastructure was there and no one, not a single person in charge, had the foresight to consider congestion and urban flight issues...

Just makes me wonder when and what the next big blunder for Birmingham will be...let's see, rails to natta, loss of the "big" airport to Atlanta, what is the blunder of this quarter century?


It's GM's fault
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  #65  
Old Posted Jun 21, 2005, 9:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by D1136
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blazer85
-1948 Ridership reached an all time peak at 93 million passengers


93 million!! Good heavens!

No wonder Birmingham was said to have had the 2nd most extensive streetcar system in the nation.
I wonder why the city got the bright idea to rip it all out...the infrastructure was there and no one, not a single person in charge, had the foresight to consider congestion and urban flight issues...

Just makes me wonder when and what the next big blunder for Birmingham will be...let's see, rails to natta, loss of the "big" airport to Atlanta, what is the blunder of this quarter century?

Like Justin said, the automobile industry is to blame. The dismantling of streetcar systems happened in many cities during the mid-1900's, not just in Birmingham.
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  #66  
Old Posted Jun 21, 2005, 9:17 PM
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But, but, after GM bought and dismantled the systems, they turned around and sold us buses!

Geez!

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  #67  
Old Posted Jun 21, 2005, 9:27 PM
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Toronto certainly maintained and in fact grew their trolley system when most other places were cutting it. In fact, I believe they bought streetcars from Birmingham and Cincinnati among other places.
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  #68  
Old Posted Jun 21, 2005, 9:43 PM
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Well... looks like ALDOT once again withdrew the 2.5mile stretch of I-22 from Cherry Ave to Coalburg Rd. The 5 mile stretch from Cherry Ave to I-65 is the one remaining segment of I-22 that has yet to see work on it begin.
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  #69  
Old Posted Jun 21, 2005, 10:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by D1136
I wonder why the city got the bright idea to rip it all out...the infrastructure was there and no one, not a single person in charge, had the foresight to consider congestion and urban flight issues...
They didn't rip it all out. A lot of it is still there under the asphalt. There's an easily visible section on Richard Arrington/18th St. headed up to Vulcan from 5 Points.

The foresight they had at the time was that the streetcar companies weren't making any money anymore and that automobiles were reaching the mass market. So they sold the streetcars and bought busses.

Re: Congestion, they probably assumed that individual cars would give people freedom to use routes that weren't travelled by streetcar and would therefore RELIEVE the problems of congestion that they already had. And I'm sure they were right. It would have been remarkable if they had foreseen the entirely different congestion problems that cars eventually brought - which are not the direct result of ending light rail service, but are the result sprawling development that capitalized on auto ownership to turn a profit on cheap outlying parcels.

You want foresight? I'll give you foresight. Five lane streets throughout downtown showed INCREDIBLE foresight. There is no real congestion on downtown streets except at onramps and cruising hours. Sure, people complain about the traffic, but put them in any comparably-sized city at rush hour and let them compare.
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  #70  
Old Posted Jun 22, 2005, 9:45 AM
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Hmm.. Are there houses in the way of that stretch or is it funding?
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  #71  
Old Posted Jun 22, 2005, 5:13 PM
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Does anyone have a response to the article in today's B-ham News about Gov. Riley getting ALDOT to speed up the I-85 extension? As of now, he has secured $19 million in route planning, stating that the extention will "improve the transportation infrastructure" which he says will help the Black Belt's struggling economy. I'm all for boosting the much needed economic development in the Black Belt counties, and soon, but the 140 mile extension, estimated at $1.5 billion, is supposed run parallel to the already 4-laned Hwy 80. (Some segments are currently, or will be under contruction to allow it to be 4-laned from Montgomery to the state line). The plans for the extention call for it to end at 20/59 in Cuba, Al. Okay, I travelled Hwy 80 from Montgomery to Selma about two years ago and I probably could have counted more animals than vehicles. Yes, it's common sense that interstates, extensions, and spurs are a benefit and can bring growth and development (ex. Ga 400 and 575), but there are many highways, such as 280, that don't owe their success to an interstate being built. Also, anyone travelling from Atlanta to or through Ms (and vice versa) will not get there faster from this ext. getting built. Building or extending an interstate needs to have more reasoning. I could not think of a more vital construction project than I-22, which will improve the heavy truck traffic between 3 major cities: Memphis, Birmingham, and Atlanta.

The extention proposal was actually brought to the table by Gov. Siegelman for the same economic reasons, leading Sen. Shelby to secure $3 million in 2002 to help pay for a study. I do want Riley to further pursue this study, as well as other possibilities to bring growth to that area, but this allocation of state money that he ordered to ALDOT, makes me wonder if he's just responding to complaints from Rep. Artur Davis, who is over district 7 (Selma and everything surrounding). Otherwise, I wouldn't assume that this matter would cause Gov. Riley to get off his horse.

I dunno... It just makes me wonder why Riley would set his priorities on this. Meanwhile, trucks are doing cartwheels on Malfunction Junction and they are putting up blank message boards. Go Figure!
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  #72  
Old Posted Jun 22, 2005, 5:24 PM
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There are certain industries who mandate proximity to a FEDERAL highway when selecting a factory site. I'm guessing it has to do with stability in funding/upkeep and a uniform highway design that allows nationwide transportation to travel it easier (?).

Riley knows he will never have the political support to boost the Black Belt's fortunes through increased money to social programs, education, housing, etc. This seems to me to be a very "Republican" solution to the problem--build a federal highway through the area, make it as attractive as possible to new employers, and let the boom in business be the "tide that lifts all boats."

Improving the Black Belt is important to Alabama's fortunes. Not only would it seriously improve the lives of those people living in one of the last real pockets of poverty in the US, but it would help put a dent in the atrocious business/social statistics of that region. I'm not sure if you've ever noticed this, but if you took the "Black Belt" counties out of Alabama, the social statistics in many cases would look a lot more like Kentucky/Indiana. Alabama would love to be able to overcome the statistical gap keeping it down, and putting a federal highway right through the heart of this area would go a long way.

And Artur Davis knows this, too--that's why he's behind it.
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  #73  
Old Posted Jun 22, 2005, 7:06 PM
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However, it takes more than just an Interstate highway running through the area to make it attractive to industry. By your logic, Greene and Sumter Counties should be fricking booming (since they have I-20/59 running through). Last I checked, they were just as bad as the rest of the "Black Belt".

No, it takes more than an Interstate. It also takes *EDUCATION* and having a skilled workforce to tap into. Furthermore, it also takes a bit of proaction on the part of both the government *AND* the public in the area to recruit industry. This is one big reason why Meridian, MS, despite its excellent location and transportation assets, is barely hanging on...their leaders aren't being proactive the way they should be and IMO are backing the wrong horses...

Lastly, when it comes to transportation funding, and how scarce transportation dollars are, potential projects need to be priortized based on other more pertinent factors...safety...road condition (i.e. need for reconstruction)...and congestion. Economic development, IMO, is *LAST* on the list of factors to be considered.

Relating that to Alabama, Corridor X is justified due to its heavy truck traffic and safety issues. The US 80 corridor just barely justifies a 4-lane corridor. There aren't many safety problems along it, and traffic just isn't heavy enough to support a freeway. It CERTAINLY doesn't justify an Interstate highway...
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  #74  
Old Posted Jun 22, 2005, 8:01 PM
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I'm afraid I don't know much about Highway 80. You raise a good point about I-20/59, though. I guess you've got to give that area of the state a chance. Maybe Riley knows something we don't--industry that has mentioned moving to rural AL, "if the infrastructure was in place..."
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  #75  
Old Posted Jun 22, 2005, 10:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mayfd24
Hmm.. Are there houses in the way of that stretch or is it funding?
Funding is no real issue with I-22 to my knowledge... the funding is there, just have to complete construction. The final leg of construction to I-65 also doesnt involved cutting through many (if any) homes, so homes arent really the issue either. Primarily this last 5-mile segment is expect to take so long because of the harsh terrain it must cover and therefore requires a LOT of earth-moving. The interchange of I-22 and I-65 is expect to cost about $150M alone.
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  #76  
Old Posted Jun 22, 2005, 10:39 PM
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Hmm... never heard of it. Anyone ever had Lenny's? Hopefully there will be at least one of these downtown.
----------------------------------------------------------

Lenny's Sub Shop to open locations in Birmingham

LnL to open 22 sub shops in Birmingham, Jonesboro and Little Rock

Lenny's Franchisor LLC, franchisor of Lenny's Sub Shops announced Wednesday the chain will add restaurants in three Southeastern markets. Franchisee LnL, owned by a group of investors from the Memphis area, has agreed to open a total of 22 restaurants in Birmingham, as well as Jonesboro and Little Rock, Ark., over the next five years.

While the original Lenny's Sub Shop opened in a Memphis suburb in 1998, owners Len and Sheila Moore first started selling subs and Philly cheesesteak sandwiches years before on the Wildwood, N.J., boardwalk. Lenny's started franchising in 2001 and has granted over 300 franchises in nine states from North Carolina to Texas.

"As we continue to grow, we are excited to have this capable and experienced group as part of our franchisee community," said George Alvord, CEO of Lenny's.

After researching potential markets, LnL chose the Birmingham, Jonesboro, and Little Rock markets because of their familiarity with the areas and the cities' proximity to their home base of Memphis. Birmingham and Jonesboro are new markets for Lenny's; Little Rock currently has one operating restaurant.

LnL plans to open the first two restaurants, in Little Rock and Birmingham, before the holidays this year.



© 2005 American City Business Journals Inc.
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  #77  
Old Posted Jun 22, 2005, 10:41 PM
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Looks a lot like the Fat Sam's on 280 to me. (http://www.lennyssubshop.com/ , click on "Tour" )
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  #78  
Old Posted Jun 22, 2005, 10:54 PM
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^ Well Fat Sams is awesome... never been to the 280 location, but the one in Southside is great.
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  #79  
Old Posted Jun 22, 2005, 10:55 PM
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How do yall think this will fly in Birmingham?
-------------------------------------------------------------

Segway sets up Southside shop
Wednesday, June 22, 2005
MICHAEL TOMBERLIN
News staff writer

A seller of Segway, the hot two-wheel transport, has decided to give Birmingham a whirl.

Segway of Birmingham has settled at 1516 20th St. South, becoming the first dealership in the state for the electric vehicles.

Rafael Cabello decided to open the Birmingham location after being part of a similar operation in Clearwater, Fla.

"I feel Birmingham is really cosmopolitan, with people who are really interested in new technology," Cabello said.

How they work:

The Southside sales center allows Cabello to give potential buyers a "test drive" after about five minutes of instruction.

The electric, self-balancing Segway moves with the driver as he or she leans forward and stops or reverses by leaning backward. Steering can be done with a twist of a device on the handlebars.

The vehicles travel up to 12.5 miles per hour and can travel on sidewalks, inside buildings, on golf courses and virtually anywhere. They are available in all-terrain and regular versions.

Prices range from $4,500 to more than $5,500. A number of accessories and add-ons can push the price higher.

With lithium batteries that can be recharged, Segway could be coming to town at just the right time with gas prices on the rise.

Cabello said it costs about 10 cents per day to recharge the battery, which has an energy efficiency equivalent to 450 miles per gallon.

Business and pleasure:

Urban dwellers, short-term commuters and students are among targeted customers. Suburbanites, those who live on golf courses and farmers are others.

But the larger market could be commercial customers, Cabello said.

"Police and security personnel, airport workers, automotive plants like Mercedes, meter readers, warehouse workers and postal employees can benefit from using Segways," he said, adding he plans to call on a number of businesses in the area to make a pitch.

Cabello said the elderly and certain handicapped people also have benefited from the Segway. An attachment for trucks makes it easy to load and transport a unit anywhere, he said.

Segways are growing more popular in large pedestrian cities, so much so that some cities are considering passing special laws to accommodate their use.

In addition to Segways, Cabello's dealership is carrying Tidal Force electric bicycles, which sell for $2,100 to $2,900 each. Police and security organizations are interested in those as well, he said.

"We're selling things that are not only fun new technologies, but they have great uses," he said.

For now, Segway of Birmingham is taking customers by appointment only. Scheduling can be made by e-mailing segway@charter.net.

E-mail: mtomberlin@bhamnews.com
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  #80  
Old Posted Jun 22, 2005, 11:22 PM
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Oh, and speaking of Segways....

I meant Jersey Mike's not Fat Sam's. Lenny's looks like Jersey Mike's. Oddly, I've never been to Fat Sam's, but I'll keep it in mind.

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